Like most people, I can’t quite believe we’ve reached the halfway point of the year already. And yet, here we are! Throughout June, I finished 10 books, bringing my total for the year so far up to 62. Here are some very brief thoughts on each of them, with links to my full reviews if you’d like to know more.
Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] An intense and intoxicating look at one woman’s downward spiral of self-destruction as she becomes involved in a three-way relationship, using her body to seek validation and meaning. Bold and unflinching, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Lanny by Max Porter
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A unique, experimental, and engaging read that explores time and place, misfits and community, the transformative power of art, and man’s bond with the natural world. Beguiling and oddly magical, it’s sure to provoke disparate reactions.
The Wildlands by Abby Geni
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A powerful, tense family drama that explores the bond of siblings, the illusion of man’s rule over the land, and the animal instincts in all of us to both lash out and protect the ones we love. With brilliantly flawed and believable characters, and clever commentary on trauma and toxic masculinity, I was utterly enthralled.
Triquetra by Kirstyn McDermott
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] This ‘what if’ sequel to Snow White is a suitably dark and gothic game of nerve and paranoia, pitting our inherent proclivity for selfishness against a warped sense of sisterhood.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] This quiet and understated little novel is a worthwhile look at society versus the individual, with subtle commentary on the pervasive quality of misogyny and class snobbery. Written with an easy grace, it’s both smart and highly readable.
Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] This gem of a book is comprised of poetic vignettes, brief biographical insight, recommended reading, and stunning portraits of 30 pioneering female writers; likening their profound way with words to a kind of magic. Beautiful, diverse, and informative, it’s one I know I’ll go back to regularly.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] This is a hugely readable and well paced look at trauma and revenge that manages to completely avoid gratuity. Fleshed-out characters and a cleverly pitched ending allow for real emotional impact.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] This deeply personal yet outwardly ambitious graphic memoir looks at the ripple effect of war and displacement throughout generations of a family. Eye-opening on a political level, and engaging on a human level, it offers a unique perspective on Vietnam’s recent past.
Tyger, Tyger by William Blake
[ ⭐ ⭐ ] There are some nice lines in this slim volume of Blake’s poetry, but I found it too archaic and repetitive in its use of language, rhyme, and themes to inspire any real emotional investment.
The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer
[ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ] A quietly powerful and darkly funny look at the mental breakdown of a woman left unsatisfied by the role of wife and mother. This book bites with the wave of feminism that would follow, but it’s hindered by a failure to capitalise on its full potential, and some use of uncomfortably outdated slurs.
There we have it! This was a strong reading month, but the real standouts were The Wildlands and Literary Witches. What was your favourite read in June?